BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It's championship week at Blountstown High School—an entire year of dreams and hard work leading up to Saturday night in Tallahassee.
The 13-0 Tigers take on Madison (11-2) in the 1A title game, vying to win the program's fourth state championship and first since 1977.
Making it this far is no ordinary accomplishment, and this is no ordinary week. The team is the grand marshal for a town's Christmas Parade Friday night (an event rescheduled from Saturday so the Tigers could be honored), hosting a community pep rally Thursday night, and heading to Florida State's indoor practice facility on Thursday morning.
"I just wanted to make the week as special as possible," head coach Beau Johnson said. "It wouldn't matter if it was West Florida or FAMU and they had an indoor facility. Getting them on some turf, inside a cool building and getting these kids out of Blountstown into something cool like that. I just wanted to make this week the best possible experience I could. They earned it. We're very proud of them. It's about making lifetime memories."
Despite the extra events and expectations, the team's leaders are remaining calm. To Treven Smith, a two-sided star who broke the career touchdown record earlier this season and set the single reason rushing yards mark Friday, it's business as usual.
"It just feels like it's another week of practice," the senior said. "We just have to go out there and do our thing like we do every other week. Just pound the ball, like we are known for."
Saturday's game over at Gene Cox Stadium will be a rematch of the 2017 1A title game won 35-20 by the Cowboys, their first of back-to-back titles. This Blountstown team has eleven seniors, so there's big game experience and sentimentality heading into the weekend.
"We've been working like, summer time, putting in the work in the weight room. And you know the coaching staff, just being around us as brothers and stuff, senior athlete Jaquille Martin said. "We cherish it. Not too many teams get to play and practice for a state championship."
"It's new to me, I didn't play in '17 so I didn't get to go," senior tackle Cody Peavy added. "It's gonna be a new experience. I'm glad to be able to do this will all of us seniors. We're family, we love each other. This is a big experience for all of us."
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